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REI Co-op Screen House Review

Light and easy to set-up, this screened model takes the camping tent format and applies it to a larger canopy style tent.
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Price:  $249 List | $249.00 at REI
Pros:  Light, easy to set up, familiar design
Cons:  Fixed floor bases, not very stable
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Michael Wood ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 28, 2019
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Livability - 25% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 25% 7
  • Wind Resistance - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Portability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Screen House Shelter is lightweight, weighing in at 10 lbs 14 oz. Due to its low weight, as well as its familiar tent pole design, this shelter is easy to set up while staying true to the camping tent aesthetic. The size and simple setup are accessible to a broad demographic of campers. The dual zippered doors allow for full and easy access for up to six people, and when completely zipped up, offer excellent protection from all manner of insects while maintaining the feeling of an open door. With that being said, the fixed material at the bases are a tripping hazard and require you to completely lift the tent up and over to place it over a picnic table. The guy-lines and stakes aren't very robust and do little to add stability. For a more reliable, screened canopy that handles less-than-perfect conditions better, check out the Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Escape.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Enough space to cover a stacked picnic table  while providing minimal walking space.
Enough space to cover a stacked picnic table, while providing minimal walking space.

Livability


Offering 100 square feet of floor space and 7 feet of clearance, this tent is large enough to protect up to six people from the elements and insects. The screen doors have two zippers, allowing for full removal of the opening nets, which allows for easy access from two opposing sides. The bottom floor panel at each door does not remove, however, making it difficult to place over picnic tables as the entire tent needs to be lifted over while remaining a tripping hazard when the screen doors are open. While the Clam Outdoors model offers less square footage, the round design feels larger and more livable.

The permanent footprint is a tripping hazard for those entering or exiting the structure.
The permanent footprint is a tripping hazard for those entering or exiting the structure.

Ease of Setup


Due to the low weight of this tent and the familiar pole system, this tent is relatively easy to set up. Able to be erected by one person, the recommended two people can set this tent up in approximately 8min. The collapsible aluminum poles are slipped into the fabric sheath in two places and connect to the four corners with a ringlet. This tent has a fixed base along the bottom of each doorway which forces this tent to set up over a picnic table, or picked up and placed.

Using the guy-lines is all but essential with the lightweight REI model to keep it firmly on the ground.
Using the guy-lines is all but essential with the lightweight REI model to keep it firmly on the ground.

Wind Resistance


When erect this shelter feels unstable, and it's not until the stakes and guy-lines are in use that the tent feels sturdy. Based on the fact that it relies on thin aluminum poles for its structure, we would not recommend keeping this shelter out in heavy wind, since it has quite a bit of surface area compared to its relatively thin poles.

Guy-lines and stakes provide the majority of this shelters stability in wind.
Guy-lines and stakes provide the majority of this shelters stability in wind.

Durability


With a similar design to most camping tents, the REI Screen House relies on six aluminum poles for its structure. The poles are external, which subjects them to potential damage or bending. However, this shelter does come with a splint in case one of the poles snaps. The fabric is ripstop nylon which is durable and blocks the sun as well as light rain.

The external aluminum frame is susceptible to bending in the wind thanks to this shelter's large surface area.
The external aluminum frame is susceptible to bending in the wind thanks to this shelter's large surface area.

Portability


Under 11 lbs, this tent is much easier to transport than the Clam Quick Escape. Also due to the lightweight nature, the two hand straps on the bag are comfortable enough during transportation. This tent can be picked up and transported by just about anyone, and when packed, the tent is only 29 inches long, making it easy to store in limited space.

Best Application


The Screen House is best used for families or groups of up to six people, proving shelter over picnic tables. This shelter will protect from bugs as well as light, wind, and rainy drizzle. Also, the lightweight and easy set-up make this a good tent for people of all experience levels.

Value


This camping canopy will cost you $249, which is a considerable sum. If you're concerned about storage and weight, this may be the tent for you. However, for durability, longevity, and stability we would recommend the Clam Outdoors Quick Escape.

Conclusion


Made for car camping, this tent is lightweight, easy to set up, and protects against sun and bugs. It is easy to place over picnic tables and offers enough space to fit six people comfortably. Due to its lightweight and exterior aluminum poles, it doesn't feel very stable, and its fixed base is a potential tripping hazard. For increased durability and stability, at the cost of weight, we would recommend the Clam Quick Escape.


Michael Wood